A Nobel Prize In Physiology Or Medicine For Traditional Chinese Medicine In 2005

Ever since modern Western medicine was introduced to China in the 19th century, there has been long, long debates about whether traditional Chinese medicine should still be used. But China’s latest victory in the Nobel prize medicine category may help an out-of-fashion treatment regain its glory.

TuYouyou, a 94-year-old Chinese medical scientist want the share of the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology or in developing an effective drug to treat malaria. She’s the first ever Chinese female citizen to win a Nobel Prize and the first mainland Chinese person to ever win in a scientific discipline. TuYouyou downplayed her achievement. She said, “Actually, I have not thought about the award. Honor is honor. The fundamental issue is responsibility. The more honor you receive, the more responsibilities you have.”

The drug’s discovery was the outcome of a program initiated by Mao TseTunin the early 1970s. According to the Chinese media, “The objective was to discover a cure for malaria that would help North Vietnam win in their fight with the US and South Vietnam.”

Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for over 2000 years and incorporates various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture in Miami and massage therapy. Other recipes are listed in Chinese medical books and that’s where Ms. Tufound an answer to malaria. Following the recipe, Tuo and her team extractedartemisinin from a sweet wormwood plant that proved unusually effective in fighting the disease.

The finding also won her the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award in 2011. While the Chinese medicine world is cheering for its hard-earned global recognition in its field, some people think that extracting chemical compound from a plant is a modern medical approach, whereas traditional Chinese medicine suggests taking them altogether.

The official Nobel committee also wants to avoid giving too much credit to traditional Chinese treatments. But according to Urban Lendahl, Nobel committee in Physiology or Medicine Secretary, “We see that the inspiration is coming from traditional Chinese medicine, but then the drug as may made all the journey up to a modern drug that has been tested in every way.”

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